Iran Focus – Editorial: The latest UN sanctions against Tehran were essential. They magnify the regime’s isolation and aggravate its multifaceted domestic challenges. However, sanctions should be a part of a wider strategy dealing not just with the political symptoms but with the fundamental source of the Iran crisis: the ruling theocratic regime.
The latest UN sanctions against Tehran were essential. They magnify the regime’s isolation and aggravate its multifaceted domestic challenges. However, sanctions should be a part of a wider strategy dealing not just with the political symptoms but with the fundamental source of the Iran crisis: the ruling theocratic regime.
On Sunday, CIA chief Leon Panetta echoed a commonly heard concern that sanctions alone will not deter Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. So, what goes beyond sanctions but still falls short of foreign military intervention?
Enter the home-grown democratic option. On 26 June, tens of thousands of Iranians packed a makeshift stadium near Paris to support the option of regime change by the Iranian people and their democratic opposition movement.
In their view, since the source of the problem is the regime, the solution would naturally be to change it. They thus presented a strategic option, which includes among its facets a firm Western response to the current government, a comprehensive embargo, and recognition of Iran’s democratic opposition.
Political heavyweights speaking at the event included John Bolton, José María Aznar and Alejo Vidal-Quadras. Mr. Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, said the US government must adopt an “active regime change policy”, which “will not stand in the way of legitimate opposition groups”.
Mr. Aznar, the former Spanish Prime Minister, noted that “the Iranian people deserve a government that is not based on brutal repression. … They need and deserve a change of regime in Iran”.
And, Dr. Vidal-Quadras, the European Parliament’s Vice President, announced that 23 parliaments around the world – majorities in 20 of them – recently supported the democratic option in Iran and the National Council of Resistance of Iran as its representative, which is in itself an extraordinary development.
Hundreds of other dignitaries and parliamentarians from across the world were also in attendance at Saturday’s gathering. Organisers estimated 100,000 people took part. The AFP dubbed it a “diplomatic coup for the Iranian opposition”.
In her keynote address, Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRI, which had organised the event, called for “the creation of a new society, based on freedom, equality, democracy, respect for human rights and separation of religion and state”.
The massive gathering on Saturday put the spotlight on a future which now seems brighter. The size and the diplomatic weight of the gathering should attest to the democratic option’s growing appeal. This option complements sanctions and prevents a war. It now falls on the West to heed the Iranian opposition’s call and act accordingly.